Making Your Life as an Artist: Making Workbook

Making Workbook inside cover.

Making Workbook inside cover.

In a previous blog post I reviewed the book and digital download Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet, a considered insight into the role of art and methods for working efficiently with an art-based skill-set. This matter-of-fact publication has unsurprisingly expanded into an even further practicable format in the Making Workbook. Continue reading

Grand Arts: Visions that Provoke and Disrupt

Grants Arts Sculpture

Rosemarie Fiore, process photo, The Good-Time Mix Machine: Scrambler Drawings, 2004.
Acrylic paint on vinyl, 60 x 60 ft. (Photograph courtesy E.G. Schempf)

Art creation takes more than time and money: it takes research, focus, and many kinds of support/teamwork. That’s one main message in Grand Arts 1995 – 2015 Problems and Provocations. When Glenn Harper assigned me to cover the Grand Arts opening of Pattie Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage – a Carrara marble, Hosmer-inspired mortuary sculpture in Kansas City, Missouri around 2002, I had heard of Margaret Hall Silva’s arts foundation from artist Jeff Aeling (1996 awardee), but I didn’t realize until I read this book how messy and blindly optimistic Grand Arts was to commission work as revolutionary as Cronin’s Memorial and Sanford Biggers’ Blossom – a piano “born” from a tree, which, on its own, plays a soulful version of Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit. Continue reading

And Another Thing…

and another thing sculpture

Front cover of “And Another Thing…” (detail). Courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing. Image: Zimoun. 25 woodworms, wood, microphone, sound system, 2009. Video, 55 seconds. Courtesy of the artist and Bitforms Gallery

And Another Thing…” is an exhibition-based publication, but builds upon rather than accompanies its counterpart. It was published this summer to contextualise a 2011 show in CUNY, New York, that shares the same title. This show, mainly composed of feminist and minimalist pieces, worked with nonanthropocentrism – a key aspect of speculative realism and object-oriented ontology – at a time just before those principles became popular touchstones for artists and curators. Continue reading

Rodin’s Visceral Vision

Rodin Sculpture

Rodin surrounded by plasterworks in his studio. Photographed by Eugène Druet Ph.203. 10 × 10 in. (25.6 × 25.2cm).

The new Musée Rodin book does an excellent job of framing Rodin’s multi-faceted legacy. It covers the artist’s beginnings, historical contexts, studio practice, and artistic achievements, including the surprising fact that Rodin failed the École des Beaux-Arts sculpture admissions test three times and largely developed his sculpture practice on his own. Due to space limitations, my review will address three facets not fully fleshed out in this well-illustrated volume: why Camille Claudel’s role is still under-explored;  how Rodin enlarged the platform for sculpture and public art as he ushered in subjects lacking conventional beauty and frontal male nudity; and how his erotic art challenged the sexual taboos of his era (and even our own). Continue reading

Drone Perception of Land Art

Reuben Wu Sculpture

Reuben Wu’s Planetary Observers

Margaret Dreikausen, in her book Aerial Perception: The Earth as Seen from Aircraft and Spacecraft and Its Influence on Contemporary Art, notes the difference between two different views of the ground from the air. There is the vertical angle, or directly above, as we perceive the ground from a high-altitude aircraft or see the earth from the satellite perspective of Google Maps. And then there is the oblique angle, seen from lower altitude aircraft, looking outward over the landscape. According to Dreikausen, “the oblique angle gives a sense of wide-open space and is perceived in terms of aerial perspective involving the gradients of color and texture.” The oblique angle accentuates perspective, the three-dimensional shape of buildings, and the topography of the earth. Dreikausen traces how the oblique was first theorized in art as far back as Leonardo Da Vinci, who wrote about the way the views through the atmosphere change color and light, and the way perspective is shaped by far-off distance. She also notes the use of similar techniques in the paintings of Yvonne Jacquette and Susan Crile in more contemporary times. Continue reading

The Political Space of Art

Left over space Sculpture

Image from “Left-over Spaces: The Cinema of the Dardenne Brothers”. Photo by writer, courtesy of Rowman and Littlefield International.

The Political Space of Art is quick to clarify its title: rather than focusing on literal space within art, its reference is more figurative. Using four artists working in different art forms – filmmakers The Dardenne Brothers, writer Arundhati Roy, visual artist Ai Weiwei and musician Burial – the book explores the formation of creative work within a thick web of political relationships and spheres. Continue reading

Starving to Successful

starving

By way of justifying his art college’s lack of business of art courses, the former chair of the fine arts department at Ringling School of Art & Design, once told me that “our faculty are all practicing, exhibiting artists who know very well what it takes to make it in the art world.” Presumably, just the presence of these teaching artists and the example they set would provide their students all the information they needed. However, that claim is difficult to test. Certainly, art faculty don’t lose their jobs if they haven’t had a show or sold a work of art in many years, and no one would want that to be the criteria for evaluating an instructor. Continue reading